Book Review: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Friday! I hope you’re finding some place cool to read in this summer heat! Is it Fall yet???

Today, I’m excited to bring you a review of “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes. It’s one of the novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides Collection from Barbour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Underground Railroad Brides collectionLove Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

Free to Love by Terri J. Haynes

East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

BUY THIS BOOK: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Barbour

MY THOUGHTS

“Love had never been as valuable as strength and freedom. Until now.”

I absolutely loved this story!

Despite being limited to a short novella-length word count, the author has packed the riveting plot with heart-in-your-throat moments of life or death… and a sweet romance that lightens the emotion a bit when needed. Layered and well-defined characters will quickly settle in your heart, and you’ll be rooting for them every step of the way.

Additionally, the author’s writing style is very engaging as well as entertaining. Every page makes you eager to read the next one & I would love to see a follow-up novel with these characters – specifically related to the escaped slaves’ stories Winnie has recorded in her notebook.

Winnie’s revelation about her owners will also linger with me for a while – how many similar things in modern times have we passed off as well-meaning or kind when in fact it’s sin? And once we realize that, what are we willing to do about it?

A sobering but simultaneously encouraging story of the power of love and the pull of freedom – and the people who risked their lives to give others the chance at both. Perfect for your weekend reading list. I’m off to catch up on the author’s backlist 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Terri J. HaynesTerri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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Interview with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences.

Enjoy the interview!


Interview with Natasha D. Frazier about her book Love, Lies & Consequences

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Natasha: Love, Lies & Consequences is my first work of fiction. It is a story that was on my heart long before I put pen to paper. It evolved quite a bit as the story developed. I honestly didn’t know where the story would end up, but I wanted to explore celibacy in today’s environment.

Alexis: What is the significance of your story’s title?

Natasha: The title came after the story was written. When I first began writing, the book was titled, “He said Grace.” I changed it because it put too much emphasis on Rico and why Raegan chose to date him, in spite of her misgivings. The story is more about Raegan, so I thought Love, Lies & Consequences was more fitting. Raegan’s relationship with Rico is built on lies and so are the reasons that she and Caleb weren’t together initially. Lies are not without consequence and that is one fact that Raegan had to learn and continues to learn throughout the entire series.

Alexis: What does commitment mean to your main characters?

Natasha: To Rico? Nothing. Raegan waivers quite a bit with commitment, both to herself and God. She was committed to celibacy for two years, but she became relaxed because she believed she was strong enough to handle whatever came her way, especially when it came to Rico. She pretty much flirted with the enemy and lost the battle. As for Caleb, he is a man of his word and I love that about him. When he commits, he is “all-in.”

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Raegan. What does she look like, sound like, act like and think about?

Natasha: Raegan is a brown skinned, petite woman with curly, shoulder length hair. With a pair of high heels, she stands at about 5’6”. She’s a bit prissy, but introverted. She’s career driven, but still has a desire to be a wife and mother. She wants it all and believes that she can have it all. She’s also selfish because in her desire to get everything she wants, she doesn’t want to compromise. She pretty much has the attitude of “my way or the highway.” However, she desires to be the woman that God has called her to be. She attends church, participates in ministry, studies her bible faithfully, and prays consistently. Being in her early thirties, her thoughts are consumed with her career progression and one day getting married.

Alexis: What are Raegan’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Natasha: This always a difficult question for me to answer, even about myself. LOL. I’d say she’s headstrong and motivated, which makes for her greatest strength and weakness. Although it’s great for her to know what she wants and to be highly motivated to go after it, those traits result in stubbornness.

Alexis: Why does Raegan believe that waiting until marriage to have sex is the right thing to do?

Natasha: Her faith and experience. Raegan has been involved in sexual relationships before and they didn’t work out well for her. The book opens with her walking down the aisle to marry Damion, who she was also living with at the time. She decides that she doesn’t want to live that way anymore and wants to go “all-in” with her faith. She didn’t feel like her relationship with Damion was honoring God and she didn’t want to start a life with Damion in that way.

Alexis: What or who challenges Reagan’s desire to remain pure in romantic relationships?

Natasha: After Raegan made the commitment to remain pure, she had done so for two years. When she met Rico, he saw this as a challenge and continued to pursue her, telling her everything she wanted to hear, including promising marriage. I think to some extent, she felt like it was okay if they would marry soon.

Alexis: Let’s talk about Rico. Describe his looks, personality, character and heart. What role does he play in this story?

Natasha: Rico is bald and handsome, standing at about 5’10” tall and most of the time he is very well-dressed. Rico is a charming smooth-talker and always knows exactly what to say. He wrote beautiful letters to Raegan, pulling her into his scheme to get her in bed. Everything he did and said was a ploy to make her believe that he wanted to be with her forever so that he could have sex with her.

Alexis: Why doesn’t Rico respect Reagan’s desire to stay pure in their relationship?

Natasha: I think Rico saw her as a challenge, as something to conquer, and he set his sights on doing everything he could to win her over.

Alexis: Finally, let’s talk about Caleb. Describe his looks, flaws, hopes and deepest fears. How does he impact this story?

Natasha: Caleb is dreamy and kind-hearted, the type of guy that would make a woman look twice. He is confident, but not arrogant. Fair skinned with beautiful brown eyes, Caleb stands at 5’11” tall. He’s an architect with the primary desire to build a life with Raegan. Seeing her again was an answered prayer, and the last thing he planned to do was let her go again. At the time he sees her again, she is involved with Rico. Though he knew this, he didn’t allow it to stand in the way of letting her know how he felt about her. When Caleb enters the story, Raegan slowly begins to see Rico for who he truly is – a snake.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play throughout this story?

Natasha: One of the things that I love about Caleb is that he reminds Raegan of who she is in God. He is truly a man after God’s heart, whose first plan of action is to seek God’s face, no matter the situation. The more of Rico she allowed into her life, the less time she spent with God. Raegan also had Kensi, her best friend and accountability partner, to speak words of encouragement and faith in her life. Kensi often reminded Raegan about her commitment to God, but she often ignored her when it was convenient.

Alexis: What’s the moral of the story?

Natasha: Even when things seem right, if they aren’t in alignment with God’s Word, then it isn’t God. We often rush God and tend to put his stamp of approval on something he never ordained in the first place. Even when we mess up, we must learn to accept God’s forgiveness and forgive ourselves in the process.

Alexis: Would you like to see more books like this (with real-life issues and main characters of color) published by CBA? Why or why not?

Natasha: Absolutely! These aren’t the kind of books that are primarily published by CBA, and the world needs to read stories with main characters of color written by people of color.

Alexis: What would you do if you couldn’t write stories?

Natasha: If I couldn’t write stories, I would continue to write devotionals and books for the Christian faith because I choose to honor God with my gift of writing.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Natasha! Do you have final comments?

Natasha: Thank you for the opportunity. I hope you’ll read and fall in love with the characters because book four is coming soon!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor

~*~

About the Book:

Are you ready and willing to accept the consequences that come along with your choices?

“The true test of my commitment will come when I am actually tested, but it’s nothing I can’t handle…” So thinks Raegan – and it proves to be a thought that is tested every step of her journey.

Raegan was all set to live a life free of sexual impurities until she met Rico, who challenged her character. Sex outside of marriage isn’t all that bad if you’re going to eventually marry that person, right? After all, Rico did make promises to marry her, but can he hold true to that promise?

Raegan had come to believe that Rico could be the one until Caleb, her college love, comes back into her life. Raegan begins to make a series of choices that lead to consequences she wasn’t prepared to face. Will her faith sustain her?

Buy Natasha’s book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Natasha Frazier received her Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Jackson State University and her Masters of Science degree from Texas A&M University. Since graduating, Natasha earned her CPA license. While practicing accounting, she began her career as an author.

Natasha believes that we are all created for a purpose, and in knowing that, she strives to live a life of purpose by doing what she has been created to do: inspire and encourage others. She does this through her literary works and the How Long Are You Going to Wait Conference.

Natasha has authored three devotional books, one non-fiction book, and four fiction titles, including the Love, Lies & Consequences series.

Each of her books are award-nominated titles. Her most recent title, Kairos: The Perfect Time for Love has been nominated by Joy & Company to receive the Henri Award. The Henri Award honors excellence in Christian literature and is presented at the Christian Literary Awards in Dallas, TX.

Natasha resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. She attends Parkway Fellowship Church, where she co-leads a preschool small group.

Follow Natasha online: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

Book Spotlight: “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on the story “Free to Love” by Terri J. Haynes.


About the Book (story collection), The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

About Terri’s story “Free to Love” in the story collection:  East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

Buy this book online: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Barbour Books 


About the Author:

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Book Spotlight: Hannah’s Hope

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Hannah’s Hope.


About the Book:

Hannah’s Hope (“My True Identity” Teen Series)

Since she could remember, young Hannah Monroe has endured pain and struggles.

Now, she’s moved in with Aunt Loretta and her husband.

After arriving, Hannah was delighted to just be a kid and hang out with her friend, Monet, steering clear of all the girl drama but griping about the mounds of homework and their annoying peers.

One day darkness creeps in, securing its grip on her childhood innocence.

At only twelve years old, Hannah wonders if she will ever find hope to overcome the darkest moments of her life.

Will any one ever believe her? Will anyone even care?

Buy this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Denise M. Walker is a pastor, wife, mother, minister, podcaster, experienced educator and entrepreneur.

Denise has educated youth for over 18 years and served in the field of education for 22 years. Most of her career has been serving middle school youth.

She is the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc. and the owner of Armor of Hope Writing & Publishing Services, LLC. In addition, Denise M. Walker is the creator and facilitator of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club Facebook group, the host of the Book Review Radio Show, Hope-in-Christ w/Denise and Building Literacy & True Identity podcasts. Her ministry’s mission is to lead others to the truth of Christ, build literacy, and assist individuals in walking in their true identity in Him.

Denise has written several blogs on the Hope-in-Christ Ministries platform. She has penned three books, Re-Presenting God, a youth journal on the deity of Christ; Hannah’s Hope, a teen novel about overcoming abuse and The S.C.R.I.P.T. journal for aspiring Christian writers. She has also co-authored several anthologies.

Currently, she working on her second novel, Hannah’s Barren Womb, a Bible study journal called Is This English Class or Bible Study? and another journal for women and girls.

Denise also has a passion for designing her own curriculum in order to build reading comprehension and grammar skills in others.

Follow Denise online: Ministry Website, Business Website, Author Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

 

Interview with Terri J. Haynes, author of “Free to Love” (story)

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Terri J. Haynes about her story “Free to Love.”

Enjoy the interview!


Interview with Terri J. Haynes about her story, “Free to Love” in the Underground Railroad Brides story collection:

Alexis: Why did you agree to write this story “Free to Love” for Barbour Books as part of their collection of stories titled, “The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War?”

Terri: This story was originally a part of a proposal but in a different time periods. That proposal was modified so that all the storied happened before the Civil War. Even though it wasn’t our original proposal, all the ladies in the collection had worked so hard on our stories.

Alexis: What is your story “Free to Love” about?

Terri: It is the story of Hiram and Winnie, two slaves in Maryland. Hiram has run from the south and Winnie’s church is a part of the Underground Railroad. Hiram ends up wounded near Winnie’s church and she helps nurse him back to health. But there is a storm brewing around them and it threatens their freedom and their lives.

Alexis: Who are the main characters in your story? Briefly describe the hero and heroine’s looks, personality, hopes, fears and outlook on life.

Terri: Winnie is a slave but she and her parents assist with the Underground Railroad. Winnie is strong, loyal and caring, but fears being on the run. Hiram has run from the south and his brave but gentle. He fears he will be captured before he can reach freedom.

Alexis: What is it about the hero that the heroine loves? Explain.

Terri: Winnie loves that Hiram is so gentle despite his size. She also loves that he enjoys growing things. She also loves his courage to run from his slave masters to freedom.

Alexis: What is the hero’s greatest skill and his most troublesome weakness?

Terri: Hiram’s greatest skill is his ability to make people feel at ease. His most troublesome weakness is that he is afraid of being caught and sent back to the south.

Alexis: What is it about the heroine that makes the hero want to protect her?

Terri: Winnie is one of the most caring, hardworking woman Hiram has ever met. She also is sacrificing for the people she loves. Winnie is also working toward her freedom, just in a very different way than Hiram and Hiram wants her freedom as much as he wants his own.

Alexis: How are your hero and heroine involved in the Underground Railroad?

Terri: Hiram is a runaway slave and Winnie is a conductress.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story? Why?

Terri: That love can bloom in the darkest of places. I feel that many stories about the Underground Railroad focus on the pain, tragedy and abuse, but not taking into account that there were families, couples and children who loved each other. In my research for this novella, I found instances of runaway slaves risking a return to their slaveholders to free their families. Working so they could purchase the freedom of their spouses and children. Slaves were not an unfeeling mass. They had families, dreams and love.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories like these that feature main characters of color, published by CBA? Why or why not?

Terri: I would. I would love to see more stories because I am a person of color. There is power in representation. Of course, I can connect with stories featuring other races, but I would love to read about my own. We have stories to tell that will further the Kingdom.

Alexis: What would you say is the greatest challenge in being an author of color writing stories about characters of color to be published by CBA?

Terri: The greatest challenge is that CBA, at the moment, publishes very few authors of color. It is heartbreaking to see it. It feels like there isn’t a place for me, even though I am a Christian and a consumer of Christian fiction. It’s hard to see a whole segment of literature devoid of people who look and write like me.

Alexis: Would you say that it’s easier for authors of color who write books about characters of color to become indie authors to get their stories out there? Why or why not?

Terri: This question has a hard answer. Yes, I think it is easier for authors of color to become indie authors. In the indie world, there is no “gatekeeper.” Authors of color are free to tell the stories they want how they want. Unfortunately, this has a downside. There is a lot of work in indie publishing, espically if you plan to succeed. You basically become a publishing house. I am thankful that we can indie publish, but I would like it to be one of my options, not my only option.

Alexis: What advice would you give the Marketing and Sales Department of traditional Christian publishing houses to help them reach readers of color and effectively sell books by authors of color whose stories feature characters of color?

Terri: Now I have to put on another hat I’ve worn in the past: bookseller. I used to work for a major bookstore so I understand that world. The truth is simple. All publishing houses need to do is publishing authors of color.

There were many days where people from all races came into the bookstore where I was working and ask specifically for books by authors of color. Christian authors of color. The demand is there. The problem is the books aren’t. Put the books out there and they will sell.

When we start taking about how to reach readers of color, there is the suggestion that readers of color are somewhere buried way under a rock and never set foot into a bookstore or library. Like there is some different process on how to reach us than readers of other races. I have been told several times that publishers don’t know how to market to readers of color and this statement makes it seem like readers of color are foreign and “other.”

There isn’t a different way. Christian readers of color find new reads the same way everyone else does. We browse bookstores. We get book recommendations from our friends. We read book reviews. Readers of color have been purchasing CBA books for years. If we found those books, have a little faith that we’ll find books featuring characters of color. Have more than a little faith, because we want to see ourselves in books and on covers.

Alexis: If you were not an author, what would you be?

Terri: Unhappy. I love to write and can’t imagine my life without it.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Terri! Do you have closing comments?

Terri: Thank you for interviewing me. I hope that this interview will broaden the conversation about authors of color in Christian fiction.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book (story collection), The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

About Terri’s story “Free to Love” in the story collection:  East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

Buy this book online: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Barbour Books 


About the Author:

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Interview with Denise M. Walker, author of “Hannah’s Hope”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re hosting Denise M. Walker who is here to talk about her book, Hannah’s Hope.

Enjoy!


Interview with Denise M. Walker about her book, Hannah’s Hope:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Denise: I wrote Hannah’s Hope to bring awareness to the reality of child abuse and the struggles of our youth. We need to protect our children.

Alexis: What is the significance of your book’s title?

Denise: One night I had a dream about this book before writing any words. God gave me the name. The name Hannah in Hebrew means grace or favored. Despite our struggles and pain, I believe God shows us His amazing grace. He turns our tests and trials into testimonies, and he wants to use us to help others. Hope reminds me of Jesus. He is our only hope and will see us through. He will also send others to shine His hope in our darkest hours.

Alexis: Tell us about Hannah Monroe, the heroine of your story. What does she look like? Does she speak with an accent? What sets her heart on fire? What gives her hope?

Denise: Hannah is an African American middle school girl. She is dark skinned with natural hair. She’s hardworking and loves reading and writing but finds it difficult to focus on school. Hope comes to Hannah through her best friend and father. As a middle school student, Hannah never thought she would experience such pain. She just wants to be a kid but wonders if her other peers might be experiencing similar things they don’t want to talk about.

Alexis: What role does Hannah’s Aunt Loretta and her husband, play in this book in relation to how they affect Hannah’s story?

Denise: Hannah experiences abuse in their home.

Alexis: What role does Hannah’s friend Monet play in this story? How did they meet? Is Monet a good friend to Hannah? Explain.

Denise: Monet plays the role of a true friend. When Hannah feels that she can’t take it anymore, Monet is right by her side encouraging her to tell someone. They met in elementary school.

Alexis: What can you tell us about the darkness that gripped Hannah’s childhood innocence, without giving away the story?

Denise: Hannah comes to realize that she can’t trust those she is supposed to trust the most. Trying to endure such pain and not get anyone in trouble is destroying her emotionally.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story?

Denise: I want readers to remember that our middle school girls endure more than we can ever know, and they don’t know what to do about it. Therefore, they result to acting out.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories like yours published by CBA? Why or why not?

Denise: Yes, I love to learn more about other authors.

Alexis: Now for the fun questions…write your answers in italics.

  • Who is your favorite actor?

I guess I would say my favorite actor is Idris Elba.

  • Who is your favorite actress?

My favorite actress is Angela Bassett.

  • What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is teal.

  • How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

I take my coffee with creamer and natural sweetener. I love my tea with natural sweetener as well.

  • Who is your favorite author?

I do not have a favorite author. I love to read many different authors in Christian Literature.

  • What is one book (besides The Holy Bible) that you cannot live without?

It is not a book. However, I take my calendar everywhere. Otherwise, I would forget something.

  • Which Bible verse keeps you going when times are tough?

Psalm 91 (ESV) is one of my favorites. Here are the first few lines: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Denise! Do you have closing comments?

Denise: In closing, I pray that you all would come to realize and embrace your true identity in Christ. You are not your past, your pain nor your fears. You are the image of Christ. Be Blessed!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book:

Hannah’s Hope (“My True Identity” Teen Series)

Since she could remember, young Hannah Monroe has endured pain and struggles.

Now, she’s moved in with Aunt Loretta and her husband.

After arriving, Hannah was delighted to just be a kid and hang out with her friend, Monet, steering clear of all the girl drama but griping about the mounds of homework and their annoying peers.

One day darkness creeps in, securing its grip on her childhood innocence.

At only twelve years old, Hannah wonders if she will ever find hope to overcome the darkest moments of her life.

Will any one ever believe her? Will anyone even care?

Buy this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble


About the Author:

Denise M. Walker is a pastor, wife, mother, minister, podcaster, experienced educator and entrepreneur.

Denise has educated youth for over 18 years and served in the field of education for 22 years. Most of her career has been serving middle school youth.

She is the founder of Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc. and the owner of Armor of Hope Writing & Publishing Services, LLC. In addition, Denise M. Walker is the creator and facilitator of the Hope-in-Christ Book Club Facebook group, the host of the Book Review Radio Show, Hope-in-Christ w/Denise and Building Literacy & True Identity podcasts. Her ministry’s mission is to lead others to the truth of Christ, build literacy, and assist individuals in walking in their true identity in Him.

Denise has written several blogs on the Hope-in-Christ Ministries platform. She has penned three books, Re-Presenting God, a youth journal on the deity of Christ; Hannah’s Hope, a teen novel about overcoming abuse and The S.C.R.I.P.T. journal for aspiring Christian writers. She has also co-authored several anthologies.

Currently, she working on her second novel, Hannah’s Barren Womb, a Bible study journal called Is This English Class or Bible Study? and another journal for women and girls.

Denise also has a passion for designing her own curriculum in order to build reading comprehension and grammar skills in others.

Follow Denise online: Ministry Website, Business Website, Author Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

 

Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, “A Treasure of Gold”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold.

Enjoy!


Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold:

 Alexis: Describe the heart of your story, A Treasure of Gold.

Piper: It’s a Black Damon Runyon story of the nanny falls for the father of her charge, who is kind of like Robin Hood.

Alexis: What do readers need to know about Book One and Book Two in your Migrations of the Heart series?

Piper: Book One, A Virtuous Ruby, is about Nettie’s oldest sister. Book Two, A Most Precious Pearl, is about Nettie’s next older sister. If people care about their love stories, then they can read them. They all standalone on their own.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in the lives of your characters in this book?

Piper: Nettie was a middle child who felt that she was always overlooked in her family. When she recovered from an illness when she was a child, she became intent on pastoring to show her gratitude to Him.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Nettie Bledsoe. What’s she like?

Piper: Nettie is a very spiritual person who is intent on helping others, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. She has to learn how to seek that for herself.

Alexis: Tell is about your story’s hero Jay Evans. What’s he like?

Piper: Jay Evans works on the wrong side of the law because racism prevents him from obtaining a well-paying job that would permit him to make good money, as well as have a sense of dignity. So, even though he is a numbers kingpin, he uses his money to help everyone in the neighborhood improve their lives. Helping people is what they both have in common.

Alexis: Why does Nettie think that Jay is the “most beautiful man she’s ever seen?”

Piper: Cause he is, lol! Think Idris Elba with hazel eyes.

Alexis: Beyond his beautiful looks, what is it about Jay that makes Nettie want to know him more?

Piper: At first she doesn’t! She cares for his motherless child. Then when she sees how similar they are in wanting to help people, she falls for his beautiful heart as well as his beautiful face.

Alexis: What is the core conflict between Jay and Nettie and why does he think she’s a “church do-gooder?”

Piper: Because she is! They think their core conflict has to do with Jay being on the wrong side of the law and Nettie as a church worker. The conflict really has to do with Jay’s estrangement from God and Nettie’s repeated attempts to bring him closer to God.

Alexis: What role does Jay’s daughter Goldie play in this story?

Piper: She helps Nettie and Jay realize their attraction to one another sooner than they would if she wasn’t there. Kids can be brutally honest in that way.

Alexis: What is it about Nettie that makes Jay’s heart break just by the very thought of losing her (after she’s kidnapped)?

Piper: He realizes that his life on the wrong side of the law has cost Nettie her safety. He also realizes that he loves her and that if he wants a life with her, he will have to leave the criminal life behind forever.

Alexis: Paint a picture of your story’s setting, with words. What makes it special?

Piper: The good girl and bad boy is a trope that happens a lot in romance, but I’ve not seen it in a story like this before. I enjoyed writing it and setting it in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA—where I was able to draw on lessons of Black history and incorporate them into the story.

Alexis: What’s lacking in CBA and how can you as an #ownvoices author help fill that void?

Piper: The CBA is rigid in terms of what it publishes and that is a problem. Diversity in all kinds of stories would help with that. I’m not sure that I could help the CBA unless they were less rigid.

Alexis: In what ways could ABA and CBA work harder to effectively market books and sell stories written by #ownvoices authors.

Piper: I’ve spoken to the CBA situation. The ABA seems as if they are willing to try, at least. Hopefully, they will be more creative with their marketing and reach non-traditional audiences in new ways to help sell #ownvoices authors.

Alexis: Are you happy with the currents state of affairs in the publishing industry?

Piper: No. I’m glad that the ABA seems to be trying to rectify the situation, but really, it’s been disgraceful for a very long time. I hope that they are in it for the long haul.

Alexis: What advice do you have for authors of color who want to write their #ownvoices stories and seek representation from a literary agent?

Piper: Learn your craft and write the best story that you can. If you chose to seek representation from an agent, know that they are not looking for innovation, but they are looking for the “sure thing.” Get an agent you can reach out to, and talk to. I don’t care who the agent is, if you feel afraid to send an e-mail or call, that agent is not for you. Remember that you are hiring the agent, not the other way around.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Piper! Do you have closing comments?

Piper: Thank you for this generous opportunity to appear on Diversity Between the Pages!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog


About the Book:

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say.

Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn. Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder.

But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Buy A Treasure of Gold on Amazon

Book Spotlight: Freedom’s Kiss

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon.


About the Book:

They were prisoners of the past. Could legacy be the key to set them free?

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

Buy Freedom’s Kiss on Amazon


About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world.

Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Follow Sarah on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Interview with Sarah Monzon, author of “Freedom’s Kiss”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, you’re in for a special treat! We’re talking to celebrated indie author Sarah Monzon about her book Freedom’s Kiss and she has a surprise for you but you’ll have to read to the end of her interview to discover it.

Enjoy!


Interview with Sarah Monzon about her book, Freedom’s Kiss:

Alexis: Why did you write this book and call it “Freedom’s Kiss?”

Sarah: The first title I had for it was “A Warrior’s Heart” because it seemed the characters would be facing a lot of personal battles—like a warrior. But as I kept writing it seemed the message was more about freedom, in many different forms, and so the title Freedom’s Kiss came about.

Alexis: What happened in your hero’s life that made him a prisoner of the past?

Sarah: For my story’s hero, Adam Carrington, it was his involvement as a criminal defense attorney in a specific case that haunted him. He may have been doing his job, but he couldn’t get over his part in the outcome and held himself in his own type of prison after that.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine Olivia Arroyo. What is her ethnic heritage? Describe her looks, personality, and heart.

Sarah: Olivia Arroyo decided to do a DNA ancestry test in order to track her family tree as a Christmas present for her mother who was very interested in such things. Olivia thought she knew exactly what the results would be. Some Mayan and Spanish heritage from her father’s side who is Guatemalan, and Scandinavian ancestry on her mother’s side according to the many stories she’d heard at family reunions. When the test results came in though…well, let’s just say Olivia was surprised at the outcome.

Alexis: Why does Olivia dream of becoming a chef? Describe her favorite dish to fix.

Sarah: Simply put, it’s her passion. Coming up with recipes and sharing those with others is what she longs to do. She doesn’t have a favorite dish, but she does like to switch to baking when she has a lot on her mind that she needs to work through.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero Adam Carrington. What is his ethnic heritage? Describe his looks, strengths, and weaknesses.

Sarah: Adam is White and I imagine of European descent, although he has never taken an ancestry test. He has dark hair, has let some scruff grow along his jaw, and is patient and kind-hearted.

Alexis: Describe the meet-cute for Olivia and Adam. What was their first impression of each other?

Sarah: Adam had left his job as an attorney and opened a food truck. One that became immediately popular and for which he wasn’t quite prepared. Olivia forced her way into the truck and saved him from having to shut down and lose business. Adam’s first impression of her was that she reminded him of a hurricane.

Alexis: Why did you make this novel a time slip? Please explain what a time slip novel means to our readers who may not know.

Sarah: A time-slip novel is one that has more than one timeline. This book is the third in a time-slip series I am writing.

Alexis: Briefly describe your two main characters from the 1816 time slip in your story. Who are they? What’s their ethnic heritage? What’s the conflict that they are experiencing?

Sarah: Winnie is a runaway slave and Nokosi is a Seminole warrior. It’s an interesting piece of history that many aren’t aware of, but many of the slaves in the deep South didn’t seek freedom in the North, but by going even further South to Spanish-held Florida or even to Mexico. Many found refuge with Seminole tribes and became known as Black Seminole.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about Freedom’s Kiss?

Sarah: If I could sum in up in one line, it is that Jesus is a chain breaker.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories written by White authors about characters of color and published by the Christian fiction book market? Why or why not?

Sarah: I would, although I would also love to see authors with diverse backgrounds writing #ownvoices stories. Who better to tell a story than those who have lived and experienced those things? This goes beyond culture, though, and encompasses other things that would be unique to each author.

Alexis: Some White authors are hesitant to write about people of color because they’re scared of getting something wrong or stereotyping. What advice from your own experience in writing and publishing diverse stories, would you give the White authors who feel this way?

Sarah: It’s funny because I recently did an ancestry DNA test myself and the results came back that I am pretty much as White as you can get! My ancestors came to America from England and Holland. And I’m sure some people are wondering how I can write diverse characters when I don’t share any of their heritage stories. And it is a nervous undertaking. I often question who am I to give voice to a culture that I have no personal experience with? The only answer I have is that I was called to do so. I pray over every story and whole-heartedly believe that every story I have written or will write has been given to me from God. I have to be very careful about cultural appropriation. There is a lot of prayer, a lot of research, and help from readers and writers who have a more diverse history than I do.

Alexis: If you could step into your story and spend a day with one of your characters, who would you choose and what would you do?

Sarah: Olivia because she could cook for me and we’d eat amazing food.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Sarah! Would you like to share closing thoughts?

Sarah: Freedom’s Kiss will be free from March 6-10. It has also just recently been announced as a finalist for this year’s Selah Award.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world.

Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Follow Sarah on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


About the Book:

They were prisoners of the past. Could legacy be the key to set them free?

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

Buy Freedom’s Kiss on Amazon

Book Spotlight: Know You More

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Know You More by Jan Thompson.


About the Book:

He loves her… He loves her not…
She’s waiting for him to decide.

A young pastor of a growing church in a thriving community, Diego Flores has to come to grips with God’s will for his church and his personal life.

From USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson come 10 clean and wholesome, sweet and inspirational contemporary Christian romances set on the beaches of Tybee Island and in the city of Savannah, Georgia, two of the most romantic coastal towns in the world.

Welcome to Savannah, Georgia, in the multicultural new south! Meet a group of multiracial and multiethnic churchgoing Christians who love the Lord, work hard in their careers, and seek God’s will for their love lives. Against a backdrop of ocean, sand, and sun, these inspirational romances showcase aspects of the human need for God and for one another.

These sweet and wholesome Christian beach romances begin with KNOW YOU MORE, the story of Diego Flores and Heidi Wei living in the city of Savannah and on the sunny beaches of Tybee Island.

*Buy Jan’s book on Amazon, Google Play, Kobo/Walmart, Apple Books or Barnes & Noble.


Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Jan Thompson writes clean and wholesome multiethnic contemporary Christian romance with elements of women’s fiction, Christian romantic suspense with an air of mystery, and inspirational international thrillers with threads of sweet Christian romance.

Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.

Follow Jan on social media: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram